Friday, December 17, 2010

Hiatus 2010

Yes, it's true this time. Not like last year, when T'aint settled upon me and I had lots of idle time on my hands. This year, I truly am taking a blogging hiatus for Christmas. Mostly. But here, definitely. See y'all in January.

Friday, December 10, 2010


As a writer, I know not everything I write is going to shine. In fact, a lot of it is unadulterated crap. But I like to think that, someday, I'll be remembered by someone for the good stuff I wrote, rather than the mediocre.

Then there's Alva Johnson.

If Louis Untermeyer is to be believed, "Legend of A Sport" is one of Johnson's better bits of amusing writing.

I've got to be honest: This is the first bit in the Treasury of Laughter I couldn't finish reading. Especially when I hit this old joke:

As a wit, [Wilson] Mizner belonged to two distinct schools -- the scientific and O. Henry. His scientific method consisted of bringing a calm spirit of inquiry to bear on boiling emotion. When an excited man rushed up to him exclaiming, "Coolidge is dead," Mizner asked, "How do they tell?"

And it goes on like that. For twelve pages. In small type. I'll spare you any more snoring, and leave you to go to your respective uncles to hear the old, bad jokes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Elf Practice

Try this on for size:

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.”
But, I was one and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
‘Tis paid with sighs a-plenty
And sold for endless rue.”
And I and two-and-twenty,
And on, ‘tis true, ‘tis true.

That’s the entirety of A. E. Houseman’s poem “When I was One-and-Twenty,” which I suppose is comic in a way, but neither this one nor the other that Louis Untermeyer presents – “Oh, See How Thick the Goldcup Flowers,” is really all that ha-ha hilarious. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood writing this. But I’ve read the poems several times and while they may elicit a smile, they certainly don’t hit the Elf Practice level of hilarity (you know, Elf Practice, learning how to chuckle and go ‘hee hee’ and ‘ho ho’ and wiggle your ears, important stuff like that).